Tonawanda News

January 9, 2014

OUR VIEW: Blizzard response was top notch

By the News Editorial Board
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — A word of thanks is due to the many dedicated public employees who helped residents in the Tonawandas, particularly Ken-Ton, endure this week’s monstrous blizzard, our region’s first in 20 years.

We’ll start first with acknowledging elected officials who throughout the day worked together across multiple layers of government effectively to prevent what absolutely could have been a deadly disaster from being any worse than it was.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the state Department of Transportation were out ahead of the storm and smart to close the Thruway Monday night, before conditions worsened. A lesson was clearly learned from past snow events that left motorists stranded for up to 12 hours on I-90. Had the same thing happened this time around in such frigid temperatures surely lives would have been lost.

None were.

Erie County officials under the direction of County Executive Mark Poloncarz responded smartly, as well. A constant stream of information was made available to the media and anyone with a television set, an Internet connection or a Twitter account. No doubt the communications blitz worked. People got the message: Stay home.

Local officials here, including leaders in each of the municipalities in the Tonawandas, were smart, as well. Driving bans initiated Tuesday, while inconvenient for some, were effective in keeping vehicles in park and plows on the roll. 

And, of course, none of this would have made a difference were it not for the public works employees who spent long hours in the worst conditions we’ve seen in a very long time, salting and plowing in a continuous loop for more than two days.

By the time residents awoke Wednesday morning, major roads were clear. By midday, you wouldn’t have known what we’d been through just 24 hours prior.

We rightly take pride in our community’s enduring and positive attitude when Mother Nature puts us in the crosshairs. When the snow starts to fly — and boy did it ever for a while there — we’re at our best.

Since most of us had plenty of time to watch coverage from other parts of the country where the response was hardly as efficient, we should reflect on just how well-oiled a machine our winter storm response really is.

A hearty thanks and round of applause is due for the leaders and workers who make it possible.

Well done, guys.